Updates from the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium - Issue 39

July 5, 2023

Undergraduate Students Work Toward a More Resilient Future

Two students recently completed their Margaret A. Davidson Undergraduate Resilience Research Scholars projects. This new scholarship program provides opportunities for undergraduate students from underserved communities to contribute innovative ideas and solutions for a more resilient society. The program provides a tribute to Margaret Davidson, the Consortium’s second executive director, who went on to establish the NOAA Coastal Services Center which is now the NOAA Office for Coastal Management based in Charleston, S.C. Ultimately Margaret became NOAA’s senior leader for coastal inundation and resilience.

Angela Nganga, a rising senior at the College of Charleston, will graduate in May 2024 with a B.A. in meteorology and a minor in data science. Nganga worked with Norman Levine, professor of geology and environmental geosciences and director of the Lowcountry Hazards Center at the College of Charleston, on the project “A SLAMM Analysis of Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise in Beaufort County, S.C.” Nganga assisted with the development of an interactive, data-driven flooding application and a tide prediction model to provide people with information about areas in Charleston and Beaufort that are currently flooding or predicted to flood. The application also enables coastal counties to make decisions about protecting valuable marsh ecosystems. During summer 2023, Nganga is extending this work to coastal communities as one of the Consortium’s Community Engaged interns.

Cierra Shimp

Cierra Shimp, a rising sophomore at Coastal Carolina University, will graduate in 2026 with a B.S. in marine science and a minor in sustainability. Shimp worked with Tatiana Height, lecturer of sustainability and coastal resilience at Coastal Carolina University, on the project “Understanding the Impacts of Flooding and Storm Surge in Pawleys Island, St. Helena, and Other Coastal Communities of S.C.: An Action Research Approach.” Shimp assisted with first-hand interviews of people impacted by flooding and storm surge to understand their experiences with the costs of disaster recovery and the effectiveness of government response. Municipal officials were provided with community-informed suggestions for disaster resilience and strategies to mitigate impacts. The study also provided data that can be used to compare flooding experiences of people living in affluent communities to people living in lower-income communities.


For more information about these projects and the Margaret A. Davidson Undergraduate Resilience Research Scholars program, contact Susannah Sheldon, Research and Fellowships manager, at (843) 953-2083.

Photo of Cierra Shimp courtesy of Coastal Carolina University.

Participants at the Blue Carbon Law Symposium

Symposium Features the Value of Blue Carbon

The first Sea Grant Blue Carbon Law Symposium was held on May 17-18, 2023, at the University of Georgia (UGA). Nearly 140 participants convened during the hybrid event to build a whole-field understanding of the needs and opportunities to protect and enhance coastal blue carbon ecosystems in the U.S. The symposium engaged experts of law, policy, science, and community leadership to share knowledge and propose strategies for coastal blue carbon ecosystems through public-private partnerships. Day one of the symposium was held in partnership with the Georgia Climate Conference.


Multiple hosts made the event a success, including the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, UGA School of Law and Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and the National Sea Grant Law Center (NSGLC). The NSGLC provided primary funding and additional sponsors were Wicker and Brammell, LLC., First Horizon Bank, and The Nature Conservancy.

Read more about the symposium or contact Brita Jessen, Interdisciplinary Research and Partnership lead, at (843) 953-6417.

Photo courtesy of Shannah Montgomery, University of Georgia.

Researchers install water level sensor in salt marsh

Consortium Assists Underserved Community to Assess Flood Risk and Water Quality


The Consortium is collaborating with researchers at the College of Charleston to conduct water quality analyses and hydrologic mapping of tidal- and precipitation-based flooding in the Rosemont community in Charleston, S.C. This historically underserved community bordering the Ashley River and Interstate 26 faces threats from legacy industrial pollutants, poor air quality, and flood risk that is compounded by sea-level rise.


On June 8, 2023, a water-level sensor was installed in a tidal creek adjacent to the community. The sensor, which measures water level and water quality parameters, was generously donated and installed by In Situ and coordinated by Dwayne Porter, professor and director of graduate studies at USC's Arnold School of Public Health. Rosemont community members are being trained to collect and store water samples for analysis. College of Charleston researchers Norman Levine and Vijay Vulava will map water levels and analyze water quality in order to assess this community’s risk of flooding and exposure to pollutants.


Partners on the project include the Rosemont Community Association, Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities, Charleston Community Research to Action Board, American Geophysical Union Thriving Earth Exchange, Anthropocene Alliance, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Contact the project lead Landon Knapp, Coastal Resilience Program manager, at (843) 953-2091 for more information.

Braiding Sweetgrass book cover

Need a Good Book to Read this Summer?

The All Booked Up Coastal Reading Club, an initiative of the Consortium’s Marine Education program, brings people together via Zoom© to network and discuss books on environmental and natural resources topics. The format of the meetings and book selections are chosen based on input from the club’s 50 members.


The next book is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The club meeting will be in the fall of 2023, and authors often join for an in-depth discussion of their books. For more information, visit the All Booked Up Coastal Reading Club webpage or contact E.V. Bell at (843) 953-2085.

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